Richmond Virginia in 24 hrs

Richmond Virginia

Richmond seemed a lot closer (to Baltimore) before we got stuck in traffic headed south on I-95. But, we eventually made it to our hotel (which had two extremely small elevators, not pictured, and a boom box for our convienence, also not pictured.)

To back up slightly, we (George, Sheena–which you may recall from here, and I) had planned this quick trip to Richmond around a solo-Mike Cooley show at The Capital Ale House back in June. As with any trip, I did a little poking around and ask for suggestions on places to go and eat. I had said list in hand that included restaurants, historical sites, outdoor activities (my notion of what can be completed in 24 hrs was a bit overreaching) but quickly realized the trip would be closer to a montage of quick stops then a photo essay on Richmond’s rich offerings.

As shown above clockwise from top left: Starting off at 11:38, a bit later then planned. Traffic. Buzz and Ned’s BBQ (I ordered beef, Sheena ordered pork and we split them, both were good, but we leaned more towards the pork. Coleslaw and Mac and Cheese were both great. George got a meal on his own, and it came with two sides and  garlic bread, which I thought was a bit odd (cornbread is the way to go, hands down.) The stage at The Captial Ale House (the show was great). My first Angry Orchard Apple Ginger, which was great, But even greater was the cool ice block that was inset into the bar and used instead of coasters. And finally, as our morning farewell to the city we barely saw, chicken fried steak and eggs at Weezies.

Eleuthera, It’s not for everyone

Eleuthera, Bahamas

Seems an odd tourist slogan, I’m not sure if it is official but I did see it peppered around the island back in May during our visit. While Eleuthera is a part of the Bahamas, it seems a world away from any vision of a Bahamas vacation I had ever seen. I believe there are only 2 actual resorts on the island, most people seem to opt for rental houses, which is what we did.

As a quick note I would say a few things to anyone thinking about visiting; If you plan on doing any exploring you will need to rent a car (don’t forget: “keep left, die right”), it might be a good idea to bring some food (especially if you are particular or sensitive)—restaurant open/closing times are a loose estimate of what may happen, on a few occasions a 20 min drive left us in front of a closed restaurant (after having been advised they were open on such-and-such a day/time). After a few days, I could see what they meant by ‘it’s not for everyone’ you definitely have to have a bit of adventure in your heart. The other must haves: sunscreen, bug spray, snorkel and mask, bottled water and sunglasses.

During our visit in mid-May, it had been a bit cooler then usual and the breeze across the water made it a little chilly to swim on some days (but with the beaches all to ourselves that did little to stop us.) The most noticeable adjustment upon return was having to wear pants, I’m pretty sure I was a bathing suit or cover-up for the duration of the trip.

Shown above (clockwise); The plane ride in, Gaulding Cay Beach, The Queen’s Bath, Surfer’s Beach, Coffee/Lunch shop in Governor’s Harbour, and the cove our cottage overlooked in Gregory Town.

Homebrewed Iced Tea

Homebrewed Tea

For the past few years George has been talking about brewing iced tea, he doesn’t drink any caffeine so when the warmer weather rolls around and iced tea becomes more and more inviting the subject always comes up. I was feeling particularly creatively inspired a few weeks ago (look for another post revealing the fruits of that creative burst in the next few weeks) and brewed up a few variations, mint, raspberry mint, and chamomile. I knew there was a reason I was saving all those glass bottles).

Pretty easy to do, but here’s our method:-Add 2 cups of boiling water to 5 teabags (we use caffeine free herbal varieties)
-Add a few tablespoons of sweetener (or not, I add a bit more then George does, sometimes I don’t think he adds any)
-Let tea steep
Once steeped and slightly cooled add 3 cups of cold water, shake it up to mix and refrigerate.
I mark the bottles with rubber bands that correspond to the flavor—it validates the fact that I have been saving grocery store rubber bands for 3+ years and have rarely had occasion to use them.

Coming Together

Box Printing

Box Printing Complete

When printing with blocks carved from MDF (medium-density fiberboard), which are economical (cheap) but also typically warped (cheap), a bit of chance is added to the printing mix. One solution would be to put on my big-girl pants and buy some nice wood sold specifically for wood carving, but that can get pricey. So, for a project like this with simple graphic shapes, I wanted to go with an economical (cheap) solution for the blocks.

In this case I carved two blocks, one for each color (opposed to doing a reduction print or making my second block from a print of my first, Peach Farm Studio does a nice job explaining some of these methods.). The blocks were basically the same size, but due to the inconsistencies in the MDF as well as the cutting of the blocks, and the carving, there seemed to be quite a bit left to chance. If I could have closed my eyes when pulling the second color, I would have. To my delight the second color registered really well with the first and I didn’t have to do any adjusting to achieve good registration. I’m guessing this will be the first and only time it works out so nicely.

Seahorse Guest Cottage (with Prints!)

Seahorse Guest Cottage in North Beach, Md

Late October we took a quick little trip down to the Seahorse Guest Cottage in North Beach, MD. We’ve stayed in our fair share of rental houses, (full disclosure: we do know the proprietors) but this was by far the cleanest and most comfortable we have come across. In addition to the cottage being perfectly decorated with some really lovely mid-century modern furniture (which is unfortunately not pictured above), you’re only a few blocks away from the Chesapeake Bay (which fortunately is pictured above).

Added bonus: seasonally available art and music studios with porch. Although out of season, Gus made use of the artist studio porch to work on his bone chewing skills even though he is already quite the master chewer.

If you need yet another reason to visit the Seahorse Guest Cottage, on display (and for sale) is some local artwork, including my ‘Down By The Bay’ print series.

If you go: Don’t pass up breakfast from Blondie’s, a short walk for a great croissant breakfast sandwich.

The Lost River Paintings

15 pages= 15 paintings

I had a grand idea–purchase a pad of watercolor paper, 15 sheets=15 paintings (in 3 days). I forgot to take into account a few key things including-I haven’t painted in gouache (ever, my watercolor skills were average at best) which was to be my medium, and these 3 days (visiting Lost River, WV) were also to include relaxing, ice cream after lunch, mid-day naps, and long walks with George and Gus.

I ended up with 3 paintings (plenty of walks, ice cream and one mid-day nap), and the way the first one started out I am pretty satisfied I got through 3. I tried the first two without any pencil sketching and the first was very much just a warm up, the last (I’m not sure it would be considered plein air, maybe just a still life?) was a painted from two dead bees which were found dead in the sink drain and I decided to do a little pencil sketch first.

Lost River Echinacea

Lost River Farm Shed

Lost RIver Bees